This is our new message to parents. We preface this by saying that not all youth who drink alcohol and smoke marijuana will use illicit drugs like heroin. What we are saying is that by using alcohol or marijuana in their teens, young people are setting their brains up for addiction and increasing the likelihood of moving on to other more dangerous drugs including heroin.
Many parents may say, “well I drank and smoked pot and I’m not addicted to heroin.” To this we add, when you were younger marijuana was not as potent as it is today and opiate pain killers were not easily found. Times have changed and we, as parents, must take steps in increase the chances that teens do not progress to even more dangerous drugs. It’s time to have an open mind and realize we need to change our reaction to drug use. There are risks to using alcohol and marijuana under the age of 21. Talk to your kids and teens about alcohol and drug use, set boundaries, listen and continue the conversation.
Finally, heroin/opiate pain killer addiction and overdose is a major problem facing our local residents today. We know this garners much media attention. Our concern is that alcohol and marijuana use in teens is not getting the attention it needs. Plenty of problems arise from youth alcohol and marijuana abuse even if it doesn’t lead to addiction. Local surveys indicate that those under 18, who are using substances, are primarily using alcohol and marijuana. Some risks include: lowered academic success, risky sexual behavior, car accidents, and early onset of mental illness.